The church is alive. The church is active. The church is growing. And that’s why the church is persecuted.
The persecution of Christians is getting more severe than ever, affecting increasing numbers of believers around the world. This overview of persecution trends will help give you a better understanding of the situation, and equip you to pray for your brothers and sisters following Jesus no matter the cost.
For the first time since Open Doors started compiling the World Watch List, all top 50 countries score at least ’very high’ levels of persecution. Twelve countries are categorised as having ‘extreme’ levels of persecution, up from 11 the year before. And there are another 24 countries scoring ‘very high’ or ‘high’ levels of persecution that don’t even make it into the top 50.
Open Doors research reveals the extent to which Christians are being specifically excluded from receiving Covid-19 aid. Incidents have been recorded across Asia and Africa – where vulnerable believers are deliberately neglected by local authorities when food is distributed, Christian nurses are denied vital PPE, and some Christians are even baselessly blamed for the spread of the virus.
Of the top six countries where Christians experience the most outright violence, five are in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria – which re-entered the top 10 for the first time since 2015 – saw the most violence against Christians in 2020, with armed Fulani militants killing, burning, kidnapping and raping with impunity. Islamist violence is also why Cameroon rose to 42 from 48, and why Democratic Republic of Congo (40) and Mozambique (45) are new entries to the top 50.
Increasingly, countries are using modern surveillance methods to monitor citizens for their own ‘protection’ and ‘security.’ In China (up to 17 from 23) a mix of new laws and increased surveillance have propelled it back into the top 20 for the first time in a decade.
Since the 2016 attempted coup against President Erdogan, Turkey (25) has pursued a much more open Islamist and nationalist agenda. Increasing violence and intolerance directed towards Christian minorities sees it rise 11 places. In India (10), rising Hindu nationalism continues to claim that ‘to be Indian is to be Hindu’.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.